Articles | Volume 2, issue 2
Research article
25 Sep 2014
Research article |  | 25 Sep 2014

Tracing the boundaries of Cenozoic volcanic edifices from Sardinia (Italy): a geomorphometric contribution

M. T. Melis, F. Mundula, F. DessÌ, R. Cioni, and A. Funedda

Abstract. Unequivocal delimitation of landforms is an important issue for different purposes, from science-driven morphometric analysis to legal issues related to land conservation. This study is aimed at giving a new contribution to the morphometric approach for the delineation of the boundaries of volcanic edifices, applied to 13 monogenetic volcanoes (scoria cones) related to the Pliocene–Pleistocene volcanic cycle in Sardinia (Italy). External boundary delimitation of the edifices is discussed based on an integrated methodology using automatic elaboration of digital elevation models together with geomorphological and geological observations. Different elaborations of surface slope and profile curvature have been proposed and discussed; among them, two algorithms based on simple mathematical functions combining slope and profile curvature well fit the requirements of this study. One of theses algorithms is a modification of a function introduced by Grosse et al. (2011), which better performs for recognizing and tracing the boundary between the volcanic scoria cone and its basement. Although the geological constraints still drive the final decision, the proposed method improves the existing tools for a semi-automatic tracing of the boundaries.